I knew coming to college meant having a roommate. The surprising thing was that I was actually kind of excited. My mildly antisocial self had never lived with anyone before. This would be a new experience. During the orientation weekend, I meet a girl who seemed pretty cool. She was an artist like me (though she paints and I perform). She was quiet and easy to get along with. We agreed to try things out. We staked out territory and talked about possessions and who would bring what. We talked about our habits. It seemed like things would be okay. But, of course, you hear stories. Stories of psycho roommates that make your life a living inferno; or screaming, knockdown, drag out fights; or passive-aggressive banter that turns into finding honey or peanut butter in your shampoo bottle. Stories of best friends who become worst enemies by living together. I hoped I wouldn’t have to deal with any of that.
The first week is always the best week as far as living with another person. You’re both so busy tripping over yourselves to try not to offend each other. My room will never again be as clean as it was the first week I lived with Nicole. By the second week, though, when people start to get comfortable, smiles start to turn into snarls. By the third week, people start moving out. Much to my pleasure, Nicole and I have stayed together for the whole semester with only a couple of intense moments, most of which were just communication failures. Getting along with your roommate is possible. It’s not always easy, and sometimes you want to pop the other persons head off, but it is possible.
Nicole isn’t perfect, and sometimes she really gets on my nerves. She likes to sleep all day, meaning that I can’t hang out in my room and watch TV or listen to music without disturbing her. She likes to sit in the dark with only one light on at night, which doesn’t really please her roommate who gets depressed by dark rooms. It’s not that I don’t like my roommate. I’m sure there is plenty about me that annoys her, like my chronically messy half of the room. Or how I leave my stuff all over the place. Or how I like to turn on all the lights. Some people, even you, might be thinking, “I couldn’t deal with that.” And a lot of people choose not to. That’s right, choose. Because not getting along with someone is a choice. We both choose to get along and forgive each other the things that are annoying, like her staying up till three o’clock in the morning or my eleven alarm clocks that go off every fifteen minutes.
Living with another person isn’t always easy. Everyone, at some point, is more annoying than a fly buzzing around your head. But living with a roommate isn’t impossible, and sometimes, you become friends for life. Like any relationship, all it takes is a little work. It’s like going with the tide, it comes in, it goes out. It gives a little, and takes a little, and it’s up to you to stay afloat.